Maritime Labour Convention

Pakistan advances towards ratifying Maritime Labour Convention for seafarers' rights

Stakeholders recognize the important benefits that ratification of the ILO instrument would bring to the lives of Pakistani maritime workers.

Press release | Karachi, Pakistan | 05 October 2023
KARACHI, Pakistan (ILO News) – Ratification of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, will ensure decent working conditions and access to essential social and legal protections for Pakistan’s maritime sector workers.

Pakistan, despite its extensive coastline and a significant number of seafarers actively involved in the maritime sector, has not ratified the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. This convention establishes essential labour standards for the welfare and protection of seafarers globally.

Supported by the ILO, a stakeholders’ consultation was organized by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD) on October 05, 2023. Representatives from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, MOPHRD, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and the Directorate General of Ports and Shipping convened to assess existing gaps in the sector and map ways to collaborate to make progress towards ratification of the Convention.

The ILO sets forth a range of provisions in the Convention, covering various aspects of seafarers' rights and working conditions. These provisions encompass areas such as decent working conditions, fair wages, reasonable working hours, health and safety standards, and access to essential social and legal protections.

Ms Alia Shahid, Director-General of Ports and Shipping, highlighted that the maritime industry plays a vital role in Pakistan's economy, facilitating trade, transportation, and connectivity with the rest of the world. “With such a significant maritime presence, ensuring the welfare and protection of seafarers is not only a moral imperative but also essential for maintaining a thriving and sustainable maritime sector,” she added.

“The ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, will further enhance the reputation of Pakistan in the international maritime community, potentially leading to increased trade opportunities and partnerships,” said Geir Tonstol, Country Director of the ILO in Pakistan. He further said that this would improve the working conditions and quality of life for Pakistani seafarers, contributing to their job satisfaction and retention in the industry.

Speaking on the occasion, Azhar Malik, Deputy Secretary, MOPHRD, emphasized that the call for Pakistan to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention is a crucial step in advancing the rights and well-being of Pakistan’s maritime workers. “It is an opportunity for Pakistan to align itself with international labour standards, protect the rights of its seafarers, and ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of its maritime industry,” he added.

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